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Boeing is analyzing the effectiveness of COVID-19 passenger screenings and quarantines around the world

With more domestic flights returning to the skies, safely expanding international air travel is on the horizon. But to reconnect the world, should passengers expect more screening tests, quarantines or a combination of both?

It’s the question governments, regulatory bodies, and public health experts around the world are weighing as they consider easing COVID-19 travel restrictions between countries.

As part of Boeing’s Confident Travel Initiative, a team of mathematicians is analyzing the effectiveness of these different screening and quarantine options. What they found is that screening and testing can reduce quarantine requirements for international travelers.

Using a newly developed modeling tool, Boeing research revealed several key findings:

  • Data shows there are screening protocols as effective as a 14-day quarantine
  • Screening protocols lower the risk to the destination country
  • Screening is most beneficial for travel from higher to lower prevalence areas
Boeing Passenger Screening Model Scenarios

“Boeing’s passenger screening model compares testing, quarantine, and hybrid scenarios to reduce the risk of virus importation between countries around the world,” said Lindsay Jones, Boeing Research & Technology mathematician and Associate Technical Fellow. “The modeling will help provide governments, regulators, and industry stakeholders with validated findings that can help inform their decisions on safe international travel.”

The findings account for various factors including COVID-19 prevalence in both the origin and destination country, the efficacy of Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) and rapid antigen tests, and the disease timeline for passengers who may be traveling with COVID-19. The passenger screening model and findings were validated using actual screening test data from travelers to Iceland and Canada.

Boeing presented the passenger screening model at an International Air Transport Association press conference June 2, 2021. Both Boeing and Airbus shared their different modeling tools, which yielded similar findings. The ongoing research contributes to the aviation industry’s data-driven, global approach to promote safe, efficient travel.

The CTI team is now modeling scenarios with vaccinated travelers. As data on new COVID-19 variants becomes available, it will also be incorporated.

In addition, Boeing developed a second model to evaluate the risk of COVID-19 exposure throughout the air travel journey. Both of these modeling tools will be shared with global policymakers, regulators, airlines, medical experts and others in the aviation industry.

For more information on Boeing’s passenger screening model, read the full report “COVID-19 Screening Strategy Comparisons

Research

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